Manatee Commissioners Offer Storytelling Hours at Manatee Libraries to Promote National Library Week

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (April 4, 2018) – National Library Week, organized by the American Library Association since 1958, is an annual time of year to reflect on the valuable contributions public libraries make in their communities. Volunteers, Friends groups, Trustee and Library Foundation members help library staff continue offering important resources and services most requested by the community. 

On the local level, Manatee Libraries has planned several storytimes during the week (April 8 to 14), featuring special guests. With this year’s theme being “Libraries Lead,” Library Services Manager, Ava Ehde, thought this annual event presented a great opportunity to help connect with our local leaders. She has invited all seven Manatee Board of County Commissioners to visit with library customers and read a book to the youngest library users at one of their early literacy programs.

 “Having our commissioners take time out of their busy schedules to not only meet with and inspire our community members but read them a story is a wonderful opportunity,” said Ehde. “It gives parents personal access to commissioners to share their compliments and concerns, too.” 

Commissioner Charles Smith got off to an early start with a reading at Palmetto Library on April 4, 2018, at a special event celebrating dinosaurs. The other planned storytimes are as follows:

South Manatee Library: Commissioner Robin DiSabatino, Wednesday, April 11, 10 to 11 AM, 6081 26th Street West, Bradenton 34207

Braden River Library: Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, Wednesday, April 11, 10:15 to 11 AM, 4915 53rd Avenue East, Bradenton 34203

Island Library: Commissioner Carol Whitmore, Thursday, April 12, 2 to 3 PM, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach 34217

Downtown Central Library (2 Visits):

RESCHEDULED Commissioner Stephen Jonsson, Thursday, April 19, 10 to 11 AM

AND Commissioner Betsy Benac, Friday, April 13, 10 to 11 AM

1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W., Bradenton 34205

The final closing event for the week of celebration will be a Storytelling Festival at Rocky Bluff Library on Saturday, April 14, from 10 AM to 2 PM, where Commissioner Priscilla Whisenant Trace will be the opening speaker.

The Festival, presented by the Friends of Rocky Bluff Library, will provide continuous on-stage performances by intergenerational storytellers, including Tamara Green, Sandi Sylver, Les McDowell, DM Jack, Parrish Playworks, Iris Traverney and John Phillips. There will also be roving minstrels and a variety of games and activities. The event is sponsored by The Islands (on Manatee River), Publix, David and Barbara Hewitt, Lee Wetherington Homes, Coldwell Banker (Judy Aarnes), Parrish Village News, Dorothy Neely, Pets Plus, Sabal Palm Realty (Mark Moore), River Wilderness Literary Divas, DJJ Insurance, Fifth Third Bank, State Farm (Kim Vole), Club Realty and Storybook Café. Rocky Bluff Library is located at 6750 US Highway 301 North, Ellenton 34222.

National events planned during library week include a Library Staff Day and a Take Action for Libraries Day. For more information about the American Library Association, go to

For more information about the Commissioners’ visits or the Storytelling Festival, please contact Kelly Foster at or 941-748-5555, x6307.

About the Manatee County Public Library System: The Florida Library Association’s 2016 Library of Year and 2013 “Library Innovation” winner, the Manatee County Public Library System supports the County’s growing community and visitors through a wide range of educational and technological resources and programs at six facilities in downtown Bradenton (Riverwalk), the east county region, the south county area, Holmes Beach, Palmetto and Ellenton. This past year, Manatee Libraries was visited by nearly 850,000 customers who made use of its resources over 3.9 million times (a record high). Downloads of their digital ebook/eaudio/movies have continued to double each year, while technical training and computer assistance were up 16%. The 47,000 customers who attended their wide variety of informational and educational programs and events reflect an increase of 130% since 2006. For more information, call Downtown Library at (941) 748-5555, ext. 6307. For more information on Manatee County Public Library System, visit and follow them at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @manalibraries. For more information about Manatee County Government, call 941-748-4501 or visit, or twitter @ManateeGov